Volunteers being harvested

Published 12:47 am Friday, October 14, 2011

Two Washington businessmen are seeking volunteers for a Harvest Festival to be held Oct. 29 in downtown Washington.

Gary Ceres and Richard Snow, co-owners of I Can’t Believe It’s a Book Store on Main Street, are hoping to secure more vendors, promoters and parade marchers for the nearly daylong happening.

Inflatable jack-o’-lanterns peer through the window of G.W. Walker & Sons’ building Thursday afternoon on Main Street in Washington. The street will be the site of a harvest festival on Oct. 29. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

“I’m inviting the whole community to come,” said Ceres.

There will be no admission cost, and participants, vendors included, will be able to take part free of charge.

The festival begins with a parade at 11 a.m.

Marchers are asked to show up in costumes, on floats, tractors or just about any type of movable parade device.

The parade will trace the route of the Washington Christmas parade, extending through the downtown portion of Main, winding around Market and Second streets and back up Gladden Street.

The parade will be followed by costume contests for pets and humans on the steps of the old Bank of Washington building, which houses the bookstore.

A best-pie contest is also slated for the day, and trunk-or-treat opportunities will be made available so children and their families can trick or treat at participating merchants’ stores.

The prizes for the competitions will be gift certificates to the bookstore.

Ceres has asked local merchants to pitch in by having sidewalk sales, and hopes outside vendors will cart in art, crafts, baked goods or other homemade fare.

“We don’t want a flea market mentality,” Ceres said, adding all potential vendors or parade makers must do is contact him at the bookstore by calling 252-946-0855.

Ceres has confirmed six entries for the parade, which he expects could attract 40 to 45 marchers. He’s asking all comers — churches, civic organizations, individuals — who want to be included in the parade to turn out 30 to 45 minutes ahead of the 11 a.m. starting time.

The parade will form up on Stewart Parkway.

Ceres and Snow also want helpers to promote the festival by handing out fliers or spreading word of mouth in their communities.

Beth Byrd is executive director of the nonprofit Washington Harbor District Alliance, which pushes downtown Washington as an attraction.

Byrd praised Ceres and Snow for their initiative.

“I just give them a hand because they are very proactive and they really care about the downtown and bringing people downtown,” she said. “And they’re doing it. They just don’t sit around and wait for people to show up to their door. They’re just doing a really great job of marketing and bringing people to Washington.”